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Apr 12, 2024 - 5:18:59 AM
8 posts since 10/7/2013

Is it ok to miss or to leave out notes in a bar, as long as the melody is clear in the song being played?

Apr 12, 2024 - 5:22:51 AM
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BobbyE

USA

3503 posts since 11/29/2007

Yes. Leaving a 'hole,' in a measure can catch one's attention as you play. As you say as long as the melody is still there.

Bobby

Apr 12, 2024 - 5:31:49 AM

8 posts since 10/7/2013

Bobby my problem when playing is getting in a zone and not knowing if i'm adding are leaving out notes. if that make sense? Just kinda go by the melody.

Apr 12, 2024 - 5:39:38 AM
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3365 posts since 5/2/2012

My guess is that the only person that would notice is someone that plays the same arrangement exactly the way you do (with no missing note). For mere mortals like me, I wouldn't have a clue if you missed a note...as long as the melody is still there.

Apr 12, 2024 - 6:23:26 AM
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4833 posts since 3/28/2008

Generally, as long as leaving out notes doesn't shorten the measures or otherwise do violence to the underlying beat, you can simplify away as you like. But on more--uh--artistic grounds, some notes can be more dispensable than others.

Apr 12, 2024 - 6:42:52 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30135 posts since 8/3/2003

You can definitely leave out notes, put in other notes that work, change up licks and do about anything you want as long as the melody is there and the timing is the same.

When I was first learning, if I was working on a song and had a passage that just wouldn't come out right, I'd change it where it was still in time but not so difficult and then come back to it months later and see if it was easier to play. Usually it was.

Apr 12, 2024 - 6:56:56 AM
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BobbyE

USA

3503 posts since 11/29/2007

>>Bobby my problem when playing is getting in a zone and not knowing if i'm adding are leaving out notes. if that make sense?<<

I took your initial post as to relating to artistic license as you play. Based on the above, I would probably say if you are a beginner you should play all notes in the measure. As you progress you can take artistic license toward notes as to leaving them out as long as melody and overall sound is not hurt.

Bobby

Apr 12, 2024 - 8:05:12 AM

8 posts since 10/7/2013

I kinda get OCD about doing everything right, or by the book.Instead of just enjoying the process and music. (over thinking it sometimes)

Apr 12, 2024 - 8:07:50 AM
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Eric A

USA

1880 posts since 10/15/2019

Oh hell yes. Putting a rest in a space where a note used to be puts emphasis on the notes before and after. It's a valid artistic choice. A steady stream of eight to the bar gets to be a bore after a while.  You don't want to be boring, do you?

Edited by - Eric A on 04/12/2024 08:13:55

Apr 12, 2024 - 10:24:45 AM
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GS

UK

37 posts since 11/24/2023

In a similar vein, is it ok to miss a bar or two if I'm finding them too tricky? Do you think anyone will notice?

Apr 12, 2024 - 11:10:07 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30135 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by GS

In a similar vein, is it ok to miss a bar or two if I'm finding them too tricky? Do you think anyone will notice?


I presume you're being funny, but just in case anyone should take you seriously, no, that wouldn't be okay, not unless you actually played a one measure rest, which would really sound strange if it wasn't supposed to be there.  You could just vamp or roll the one bar that was giving you trouble or maybe take out any notes that were too tricky to play and use a quarter note or something that would take up the missed beat(s).

Apr 12, 2024 - 11:39:07 AM
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4496 posts since 6/15/2005

A bar may be the only venue in which it’s okay to leave out notes.wink

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

Apr 12, 2024 - 11:50:22 AM

GS

UK

37 posts since 11/24/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo
quote:
Originally posted by GS

In a similar vein, is it ok to miss a bar or two if I'm finding them too tricky? Do you think anyone will notice?


I presume you're being funny, but just in case anyone should take you seriously, no, that wouldn't be okay, not unless you actually played a one measure rest, which would really sound strange if it wasn't supposed to be there.  You could just vamp or roll the one bar that was giving you trouble or maybe take out any notes that were too tricky to play and use a quarter note or something that would take up the missed beat(s).


You presumed correctly, Sherry; yes, my intent was humour. I'm new here, wish I'd put a smiley face next to my comment. I appreciate your serious answer, though. It's good for thought. Enjoy your day!

Apr 12, 2024 - 12:16:08 PM
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787 posts since 11/9/2021

I sometimes deconstruct a tune to its bare bones of melody and then put back in some alternate notes, to freshen up the tune. Good way to learn to improvise. Got 1/4 note space? 4 1/16 notes fits there, maybe lead in notes to the main melody note.

Apr 12, 2024 - 12:35:44 PM
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15228 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by BEBA 75

Is it ok to miss or to leave out notes in a bar, as long as the melody is clear in the song being played?


Of course.

Music lives in the spaces as well as in the notes.

Depending on the song or tune you're playing, there could be alternative versions of the melody anyway. This is the case with every fiddle tune I've ever heard or learned.

In the case of melodies for vocal songs (where you're playing on banjo a melody that is typically sung) the vast majority of Scruggs style, three-finger, bluegrass arrangements drop (or sometimes displace) melody notes as a way to render a recognizable melody while also wrapping it within harmonizing accompaniment or filler notes. Listen critically and attentively to an Earl Scruggs solo in any vocal number. Sing along (even if in your head) as he plays. I guarantee you will sing or expect more melody notes than he plays -- even though he will play far more notes in total than you sing. (Because he's playing all that filler in between notes, on held notes, and in between verses.)

While we're at it, it's also ok to change a melody note from one note to another. Vocalists do it all the time.

Apr 12, 2024 - 1:04:24 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72046 posts since 10/5/2013

If you leave out the 2nd fret, 4th string note in Foggy Mountain Breakdown you might raise some Spockian eyebrows,,, just sayin’  (prerequisite smiley face smiley)

Edited by - chuckv97 on 04/12/2024 13:05:16

Apr 12, 2024 - 1:24:40 PM

8 posts since 10/7/2013

Thanks for all your comments ,helps, and thoughts!yes

Apr 12, 2024 - 1:35:13 PM

15228 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by BEBA 75

Thanks for all your comments ,helps, and thoughts!yes


Glad we helped.

Now, a question: What kind of melody were you asking about? Song (with lyrics) or instrumental (such as a fiddle tune)? Or maybe both? Or a specific one you're working on?

Apr 12, 2024 - 2:20:40 PM
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8 posts since 10/7/2013

Nothing in particular i play a lot of gospel hymns with lyrics. I think i play better by fell then trying to learn a song note by note. Thats the reason for my question and post.

Edited by - Big Ed 1967 on 04/12/2024 14:25:37

Apr 12, 2024 - 2:26:15 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72046 posts since 10/5/2013

A shameless plug,, ( which I’m not ashamed of)
youtu.be/k_jb3ehLhPE?si=uFOo6Kr-CGKBclRK


 

Apr 12, 2024 - 2:59:27 PM
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8 posts since 10/7/2013

Really enjoyed that Chuck thanks!

Apr 13, 2024 - 10:09:01 AM
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15228 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by BEBA 75

Nothing in particular i play a lot of gospel hymns with lyrics. I think i play better by feel then trying to learn a song note by note. Thats the reason for my question and post.


If you hear the melody in what you play, chances are others will, too.

To sum up: Three-finger (Scruggs) style banjo typically reduces songs to the core or essential melody. The minimum notes required to make the song clearly recognizable. Lots of passing notes -- short-duration notes that simply go up and down scales on their way to important notes -- get dropped or changed.

Eventually, you'll learn how to substitute licks for melody.

Apr 13, 2024 - 11:16:42 AM

8 posts since 10/7/2013

Thank you for your wisdom brother!

Apr 26, 2024 - 2:26:54 PM

2 posts since 10/21/2022

I don't reckon we ought to be in bars.

May 11, 2024 - 7:24:05 PM

24 posts since 11/18/2019

We have all made mistakes, just continue the tune, the audience probably will not notice and the other musicians understand.

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